June 2, 2023

Brighton Journal

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Supreme Court rules against Andy Warhol in copyright dispute over portrait of Prince

(CNN) the The Supreme Court ruled Thursday That the late Andy Warhol violated the photographer’s copyright when he created a series of silkscreens based on a photograph of the late singer Prince.

The verdict was 7-2.

The court rejected arguments made by attorneys for the Andy Warhol Foundation (the artist died in 1987) that his work was transformative enough not to raise copyright concerns.

The opinion was closely anticipated by the international art world watching to see how the court would balance the artist’s freedom to borrow from existing works with the limitations of copyright law.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in the majority opinion: “Goldsmith’s original works, like those of other photographers, enjoy copyright protection, even against well-known artists. This protection includes the right to prepare derivative works that alter the original,” referring to Lynn Goldsmith, photographer. in the center of the case.

In dissent from Justice Elena Kagan joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, the liberal justice wrote: “It will stifle creativity of every kind. It will hinder new art, music and literature. It will thwart the expression of new ideas and the acquisition of new knowledge. It will make our world poorer.”

At the center of the case was whether Warhol had infringed Goldsmith’s copyright when he created a series of silkscreens for The Musical Prince.

The dispute revolves around the so-called “fair use” doctrine in copyright law, which allows for unauthorized use of copyrighted works in certain circumstances.

In the case at hand, a district court ruled in favor of Warhol, basing its decision on the fact that the two works in question had different meaning and message. But the Court of Appeal overturned — ruling that the new meaning or message was not enough to qualify as fair use.

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This story has been updated with additional reports.